Steady improvement or brief success for UVU baseball?

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Wolverines go 2-2 during road trip to Washington

Led by senior pitcher Jesse Schmit with a remarkable shutout performance on Friday, the Utah Valley baseball team returns from a long weekend at Washington with a 2-2 record, improving to 5-12 in a season where they need improvement.

Wolverines win 7-0 on Friday

Schmit led an impressive performance by the Wolverines at Husky Ballpark, striking out eight over seven innings and adding another win to claim a 2-0 record on the season from the mound. Schmit, a second-year player for UVU, earned his previous win in a similarly impressive showing against Portland at their home ballpark earlier in the season, where he held the Pilots scoreless through six innings. UVU supporters hope his success is not limited to the Pacific Northwest in his future starts. 

The outing by Schmit puts his career total wins at 6-7 after moving from a reliever last season to the team’s most dominant starter this year. He boasts a notable 1.08 ERA for the season, having only allowed three runs so far.

While it took until the third inning to reach home plate, the four-run inning gave Utah Valley a lead that Schmit never relinquished. Junior second baseman Mitch Moralez led the team at the plate, going 4-for-5 throughout the game with an RBI.  

UVU splits Saturday doubleheader

Following Friday’s dominance, the Wolverines hoped to capitalize on their success during a Saturday doubleheader. While they did come out with a win, splitting the day 1-1, only two runs were scored over both games, as they lost 5-1 in the early game and won in a 1-0 shutout in the late game.

The first game of the day saw Bobby Voortmeyer lose another from the mound, now sporting an 0-3 record in his first year after transferring from Columbia Basin College.

Voortmeyer didn’t have much luck in returning to the state where he played before transferring to UVU, even with his best performance of the year, posting a 1.59 ERA for the game. But allowing two runs over five innings wasa lead that the Wolverines were never able to surmount.

After holding the Huskies to two hits and no runs over three innings, a run in the fourth by UW’s Davis Delorefice, a junior in his first year at the university where he plays right field and pitches from the mound, signaled the beginning of the end for any chance that Voortmeyer would earn his first win on the season.

The go-ahead run by Delorefice was followed by another in the sixth as he notched another RBI single to extend the lead to 2-0. Redshirt sophomore Jeff Arens would eventually score off a sacrifice fly ball from fellow Riverton High School alumnus Connor Hall, but the Huskies, who had a five-run lead heading into the inning, claimed victory following the relief performance of junior reliever Dylan Lamb.

While the Wolverines only scored the same amount of runs in the late game of the day as they did in the previous one, it was enough to claim the victory, as Moralez reached home off of an error from at third base after an appearance from junior catcher Drew Sims.

Credit for the shutout goes to junior right-handed pitcher Jaxson Otis, who earned his first win on the season in his first year at UVU after transferring from Salt Lake Community College. Otis went the distance from the mound in the win, allowing only three hits through seven innings and bringing his season record to 1-2.

Disappointment on Sunday, Wolverines fall 4-0

While Friday and Saturday held success for the Wolverines, Sunday was not so lucky. The Huskies claimed victory in a 4-0 shutout, led by junior Stevie Emanuels, who allowed three hits over seven innings and totaled eight strikeouts from the mound and improved to 3-1 for the year.

Sunday’s outing meant another loss for sophomore pitcher Mason Gray, who was pulled in the fourth inning after allowing seven hits and three runs and now hosts a dubious record of 1-2. His sole win did come in a shutout victory over San Jose State, where he allowed only five hits in almost nine innings, striking out four as he led the Wolverines to victory. 

While UVU only allowed one run after pulling Gray from the mound, it was not enough, as the Wolverines only gained two more hits on the night, one from senior outfielder Alexander Marco in the fourth, and one from freshman infielder Garrett Broussard.

Looking Ahead

UVU will host a six-game home stint over the next week, with Air Force visiting for a two-game series on Tuesday and Wednesday and Boise State coming in for the weekend, with four games being played between Friday and Sunday, provided of course that the field is ready for play as new turf is still being installed.

The Wolverines won’t leave the state until March 27, when they will hopefully visit Chicago State for a three-game series to close out the month, although the Cougars have already cancelled several basketball games due to concerns surrounding COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus.